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Work Underway On New Segment Of Project To Ease Highway 101 Congestion On Parts Of South Coast

(Photo by John Palminteri)
The latest phase of work is getting underway to widen Highway 101 between Carpinteria and Santa Barbara, as part of efforts to ease congestion on the highway.

Latest effort includes adding carpool lanes, replacing three bridges between Carpinteria and Summerland

It’s a section of Highway 101 with some of the most incredible ocean views on the South Coast. But, if you are a regular commuter, you might not appreciate the daily opportunity to enjoy the view between Carpinteria and Montecito, because you are stuck in traffic.

Community leaders say we are getting closer to the finish line in a decades long efforts to ease the chronic congestion. It's a phased in widening of the highway, expanding it from a two lane to a three lane highway in both directions from Goleta to Ventura.

The final stretch of the project is widening the 101 from Carpinteria to Santa Barbara.

Work started this week on the Padaro segment. It includes adding carpool lanes from Carpinteria to Summerland, three new bridges, sound walls, and the eventual addition of a new bikeway between Carpinteria Avenue and Santa Claus Lane.

And Caltrans, along with the Santa Barbara County Association of governments, are also advancing $50 million dollars to start work early on highway related expansion projects in Montecito. It will include some peak-period carpool lanes, and on and offramp improvements. All that work is expected to ease congestion when construction of the final Montecito to Santa Barbara segment of the project takes place.

The price tag for the Carpinteria to Santa Barbara expansion is in the $700 million dollar range. It's expected that the state will pick up about $400 million dollars of the cost.

Depending on getting final funding, the goal is to have the entire Carpinteria to Santa Barbara 101 expansion project done in 2026.